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Both teams finish second in Pre-National Championships

Steve Coyer | Tuesday, October 26, 2004

For the second straight meet, the Irish cross country runners competed against the top teams in the nation.

Both the men’s and women’s teams captured second place at the Pre-Nationals championships in Terre Haute, Ind. Oct. 16. No. 1 Stanford took first place once again, dominating the field as it did at the Notre Dame Invitational.

While the Irish faced an elite field, the expectations for the meet remained high for the sixth-ranked women’s team.

“Our goal was to be in the top three,” women’s coach Tim Connelly said. “We had hard training before the race but we had a solid performance.

Molly Huddle led the No. 6 women with a third place overall finish. With her best race of the season, Stephanie Madia finished 11th in front of teammate Kerry Meager coming in at 16th.

The No. 9 Irish men’s team placed four runners in the top 50 led by Kurt Benninger, who came in eighth overall. Tim Moore came in second for Notre Dame at 13th, finishing five seconds behind Benninger with a time 24:07 on the 8K course.

The men’s team finished with 165 points to put them ahead of Michigan at 188 but behind dominant Stanford [77].

In addition to hosting 12 of the top 30 ranked teams, the Pre-Nationals meet is also run on the same course the NCAA championships are held.

“We’ve already seen many of the top teams in the country like Stanford and Michigan,” Connelly said. “We are moving the right direction for the Big East and NCAAs.”

The Irish women will continue to face top ranked teams when they race No. 2 Providence in the Big East Championship.

“Providence is a huge favorite to win the Big East Championship, and we will have to be perfect if we want to upset them”, Connelly said.

At this point in the season, both the men’s and women’s teams have their top five runners set.

“The top five finishers in the Pre-Nationals should most likely be the top five we race in the upcoming meets,” Connelly said.

The Irish will run in the Big East Championship on Friday.

in Boston.